The Evolution of Horses

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins of horses, from their dog sized ancestors to their proliferation in the New World until hunted to extinction, their domestication in Asia and their development since. The genetics of the modern horse are the most studied of any animal, after humans, yet it is still uncertain why they only have one toe on each foot when their wider family had more, or whether speed or stamina has been more important in their evolution. What is clear, though, is that when humans first chose to ride horses, as well as eat them, the future of both species changed immeasurably.

With

Alan Outram
Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Exeter

Christine Janis
Honorary Professor in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol and Professor Emerita in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University

And

John Hutchinson
Professor in Evolutionary Biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College

Producer: Simon Tillotson